Thursday, March 27, 2008

Italian Night

Our neighborhood has a fantastic tradition of a monthly dinner party called Dine Around - we go around to everyone's house. March was my turn. I wanted to create an Italian cafe atmosphere. There were 25 people coming so card tables were definitely in order. Those were covered with white paper a la Macaroni Grill, Chianti bottle candles for the centerpieces, and crayons of course! Everyone brought something to go with the main course which was:

Parmesan Chicken Pasta

3 pound chicken (a rotisserie chicken works great for this)

8 oz. bow tie pasta 1 cup plus chicken broth
4 Tablespoons butter 4 Tablespoons flour
1 cup half and half 1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream 1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons lemon juice 1/3 cup white cooking wine

1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder and cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon each dry mustard and salt
8 oz. fresh mushrooms

Boil chicken and bone (or use the rotisserie chicken and remove from bone). Cook pasta in chicken broth. Make a basic white sauce: Melt butter, add flour and cook until bubbly. Add half and half and 1 cup chicken broth, stirring and cooking until thickened. Add mayo, sour cream, Parmesan, lemon juice, wine, and seasonings (may want to cut the cayenne pepper down some). Saute mushrooms in butter. Place mushrooms, chicken, and pasta in a flat 3 quart casserole. Sprinkle paprika and additional Parmesan on top. Bake 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. This can be frozen. A reduced fat version will also work by using reduced fat sour cream, half and half, and mayo. Do not use the no-fat products as this does not work - I have already tried!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

March Winter Storm

Tip: Be prepared!

We were hardly prepared for two snow events in the month of March - and in the same week! This is a scene from our backyard this afternoon at 3:30. The big white blobs are the "snow flakes" - they are huge!

Fortunately, last Sunday I had decided to decide on menus for the week. That took us through Tuesday. (Would you believe a short week?) Cay cooked last night, and tonight it is pizza. Luckily Don went to the store early today before the snow and got the bake at home kind of pizza. I was so glad I didn't have to cook and could play in the snow instead. One of these weeks I really am going to plan the menus then share them with everyone. Meanwhile, tonight it is a fire and LOST!